Kevin Smith’s gone on record many a time about how Universal gave his second effort to an experienced editor to put together because of his being an untested director. If he has any problems with the film he’d undoubtedly blame that, but they go deeper.
He fancied himself a writer as well as a director and with the world at his feet after Clerks it seems he was simply too in love with the smartest dialogue he could think up for his characters. The result is stiff and formal on screen, delivered by characters it sounds strange coming out of.
It also suffers from conflicting tones that don’t really fit together very well. The first is the kind of Gen X, love-in-the-90s cleverness that made Chasing Amy a much better film, and the second is the Jay and Silent Bob sequences, which moved and looked like live action Saturday morning cartoons (undoubtedly the mood Smith was going for).
When his girlfriend Brandi (Claire Forlani) dumps him for his insensitivity, college slacker TS (London, whom I’ve never seen since) follows his aimless, talky friend Brodie (Lee) to the local mall where they do what they do best – hang around aimlessly and make trouble.
They get their chance because Brandi’s TV producer dad Svenning (Michael Rooker) is putting on a live telecast of a dating game-style show and the boys try anything they can to sabotage it, including roping Jay and Silent Bob in for the comic sequences.
There are a few laughs but it hasn’t aged well. It’s more interesting as a document about Smith’s developing confidence.
If you’re a fan of Mallrats though, you’ll definitely want this 4K UHD offering – it looks and sounds beautiful through a nice home theater set-up, the commentaries on the dual versions of the film are very funny (and educational), I enjoyed the introduction by Smith, the many featurettes here, the documentary on the film’s conception and execution, and the deleted scenes and outtakes are worthwhile looking at too. There’s also a recent Q&A, a music vid, stills, a fold-out poster and a very comprehensive booklet by Philip Kemp.